Silger: Adivasi’s resistance movement against corporate loot


✒️Raipur(purogami news network)

Raipur(date.27me):- One year, or more precisely, 390 days, has been completed for the resistance movement against the state repression on them in Silger village on the border of Bijapur-Sukma district in South Bastar of Chhattisgarh. In the chain of dozens of military cantonments already established on the Bijapur-Jagargunda road, on the intervening night of May 12-13 last year, a cantonment established in Silger, only two km. away from Tarrem contonment. Later, 5 people, including a pregnant woman, were martyred and 300 tribals were injured in indiscriminate firing by police and armed forces to suppress the resistance of tribals who were peacefully protesting against another cantonment created by occupying the land of four tribal farmers in Silger.

Since then the whole of South Bastar has been agitated on the demand of removal of this military cantonment and stopping the construction of the wide road being built for mineral exploitation in that area, punishment to those responsible for this firing and compensation to the casualties. In fact this massacre was a state sponsored genocide to ensure corporate loot of natural resources and the Congress government cannot escape its responsibility. Even after a year, no FIR has been registered till date, far from getting compensation to the families of the injured and martyrs. The tribals are waiting for an “endless justice”. This cantonment of paramilitary forces, which suddenly grew on 13 May 2021, has raised sharp questions on the government’s valor of suppressing human rights and the violation of PESA and Forest Rights Act.

Whatever the government tried to suppress this genocide and suppress the tribal resistance, this movement is getting faster and the mobilization of tribals in this rugged region is increasing. The movement is developing as a representative face of resistance against the plundering of natural resources in the whole of Bastar and the tribal areas of Chhattisgarh. When this movement, run by the Moolwasi Bachao Manch, organized its meeting expressing solidarity with the nationwide farmer movement, on 26 November, more than ten thousand tribal men, women and youth were involved, whose numbers were increased on the anniversary of martyrs. The meeting had reached twenty thousand. As representatives of the Kisan Sabha, we are the witnesses of both these meetings.

After this massacre, the Congress party sent a delegation to Silger, but its report has not come to the fore till date. The public representatives of BJP also visited there and kept silent. Under the pressure of public outrage, the government had to announce a magisterial inquiry as well, but even after a year there is no trace of its investigation. The young tribals, who are running the Silger movement, have spoken to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel twice, but only got little assurance, nothing concrete has been done.

Journalist Purnachandra Rath, reporting directly from this movement site, wrote in his dispatch:

“There is no visible attempt by the government to remove the camp, but all efforts were made to weaken the movement. All mobile networks cease to exist as soon as we cross the nearby Tarrem police station and only the police wireless set works for communication. In this year-long demonstration, the agitation continued amidst all the natural calamities like winter, heat, rain. However, during the Coron period, by imposing Section 144, the gathering was declared a crime, since last year till now. Those coming from the city were repeatedly stopped, stories of the end of the movement were spread even if there was no solution in the talks, but the movement continued with the same vigor.

The number of villagers participating in this was seen to be more than 20 thousand on 17 May 2022 and 90% of them were youths of 12 to 35 years, in which the number of girls was the highest. Only a few people could communicate in Hindi. According to them, they came from distant villages by travelling 50 to 100 kms. and in turn contribute time and money to the movement as per their capacity. When Sunita was talked to among the youth arranging food and tea, she said that they arrange rice and money by roaming around at the panchayat level. Even medicines for minor ailments, injuries, diarrhea are available free of cost to the visitors. Every effort was made to make all the necessary arrangements for any long lasting movement from our own local resources.

A pavilion of about 80,000 square feet was built only 6 feet high, covered with palm leaves, for people to sit in the hot summer. The stage made of clay, about 40 feet in length and about 20 feet in width, was decorated with colorful paper flowers. On the platform, there was a system of mic system and laptop, printer, powered by solar photovoltaic sheets, through which the announcements and information of the native platform were being printed and distributed. Written “thank you” letters were also distributed to the journalists who came for coverage at this remote site.

In the pamphlet of Moolwasi Bachao Manch, an attempt has been made to keep the incidents of the movement in a sequential manner. At least 5 mobile cameras are continuously recording video throughout the event, whenever any worker makes a statement or talks, he tells each and every issue very seriously, which his partner is also present to record.”

In any movement, the presence of the public and the enthusiastic slogans played an important role. But in such long-running movements, with no visible ends and no conclusive predictions of success or failure, behind the scenes cultural intervention is more important. We saw this in the countrywide peasant movement also. Behind the strength of the Silger movement, this cultural intervention is also playing an important role in organizing mass mobilization and enthusiasm and in giving spiritual strength to this entire movement.

Azad, who was associated with this movement and studied till 8th, told that on other days the attendance remains up to 200-500. Raghu has studied the most till 12th and he is the real face of this movement. We saw that even in the midst of the heavy presence of the armed forces, he was boldly speaking to the journalists. During this period the brilliance of the struggle against the exploitation and plunder of the tribals and the confidence of victory could be clearly seen on their faces. Raghu’s partner Gajendra has also studied only upto 12th standard.

Kala Sanskriti Manch is continuously active in this movement. The associates associated with this are writing songs together with the agitators here. Azad says that Hindi songs have helped him a lot in this process of writing. They also take recourse to the dictionary in search of the appropriate word. Together they also compose the tunes of these songs and they also rehearse the dance together a week or ten days before any big event. We have seen that their cultural performances are mesmerizing and have political content. In these songs they are identifying their enemies. For them Narendra Modi, Amit Shah are traitors, Bhupesh Baghel-Kawasi Lakhma are traitors. For the past one year, their cultural practice is going on every night at the dharna site.

When we reached Silger on the morning of May 17th, thousands of tribals were demonstrating with their slogans and songs in front of the military cantonment. In front of this cantonment, they have built a memorial (Smarak stambh) in the memory of their martyrs. Painted with green, the “Green Jhanda” inscribed with a sickle-hammer is waving proudly on this monument. During the performance he sang their resistance songs along with the dance. A tribal worker is recording his statement in front of a channel that if the government wants to snatch their water, forest and land, then make them all stand in line and shoot them with bullets and capture them. The soldiers’ gun-points are bowed in front of this courageous demonstration of the tribals. In fact, the tribal culture does not mourn its death, it celebrates it. They get this self-confidence from this festive culture.

For the last one year, the road construction work connecting Bijapur to Jagargunda has been stopped. Work has not progressed beyond the cantonment that has been built in Silger. It is clear that as long as the movement is alive, the path of corporate loot is also not easy. The tribal culture of mass consumption is a deterrent against corporate plunder, which the incumbent pimps are campaigning to end in the name of Ram and Krishna.

Meanwhile, there has been a lot of government propaganda that this movement is ‘Naxal sponsored’, but the edge of this movement has only intensified. This is the first movement with widespread mass mobilization after the Bhumikal movement of the year 1910. This movement has exposed the real face of the Congress-BJP governments of not treating tribals as citizens of this country, their own made constitution and laws for corporate loot and crushing civil rights under their feet.

*Audio message of Badal Saroj in Silger’s meeting: Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini are defeated, Baghel will also retreat*

Silger (Bijapur). The central and state governments of this country are waging war against Dalits, Adivasis and the poor to make way for corporate loot. But the struggle against their oppression continues. If you will persevere like this and the strength of the country’s farmers will join you, then like Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, Narendra Modi’s government will have to bow down and Bhupesh Baghel’s government will be forced to accept its mistakes.

Badal Saroj, Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, said in an audio message sent to the agitators of Silger. He was invited by the Moolwasi Bachao Manch in the program organized on the anniversary of the martyrs of Silger. This message was narrated in the public meeting. In his message, he said that the memorial of the martyrs built by the agitators is not just a structure of brick, cement and concrete, but a living document of history, which will tell our future generations that their ancestors gave their land, What kind of sacrifices were made to save the forest, life and democracy of the society.

The Kisan Sabha leader said that when he came here in November last year, he had seen with his own eyes that the government and the wealthy capitalists sitting in power had opened army cantonments here instead of building schools and hospitals. You are continuously fighting in a peaceful manner against the undemocratic treatment of these cantonments and their abhorrent treatment and oppression with the tribal youth. Kisan Sabha supports this fight.

He said that the All India Kisan Sabha, the largest farmer organization of this country and the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, made up of 550 organizations, considers your fight as its fight. On the strength of the unity of the farmers and the Silger movement across the country, the Modi government was forced to withdraw the three anti-farmer laws, which were going to ruin the agriculture and common people of this country. Similarly, the Silger movement will also win.

In his message, he explained in detail how two tribals in Seoni were brutally murdered by cow-goons of Bajrang Dal and Shri Ram Sena. These goons have the protection of Shivraj government of BJP of Madhya Pradesh. Protest actions have been taken against it on 9 May. He told that he is busy in uniting the farmers’ organizations of the country and the state, so it was not possible for him to come to Silger.

Badal Saroj said that no matter how far you are from the capital of the country, but such battles have the power to take your voice to the capital. If you will stick firmly in this way and the strength of the country’s farmers will join you, then like Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, Narendra Modi’s government will have to bow down and Bhupesh Baghel’s government will be forced to accept its mistake.

*If the elder Modi has bowed down, then the younger Modi will also bow down*

Bijapur. The policies of both the Modi government of the BJP and the Baghel government of the Congress are pro-corporate policies, the main objective of which is to fill the coffers of the wealthy by depriving the tribals, dalits and the poor from natural resources. But the struggle against this loot continues in the whole country. As the elder Modi has kneeled and he has forced to withdraw the anti-farmer laws, on the same way the younger Modi will also have to bow down and he too will have to declare justice for the tribals of Bastar.

Sanjay Parate, President of Chhattisgarh Kisan Sabha said this, while addressing a huge public meeting organized on the first anniversary of tribals martyred by the bullets of military forces in Silger. His reference to ‘Chhote Modi’ was towards Bhupesh Baghel. He was accompanied by Rishi Gupta, general secretary of CG Kisan Sabha.

In his address, the Kisan Sabha leader said that he had come with Badal Saroj in November. On behalf of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, he described the Silger movement as the 7th outpost of the nationwide peasant movement. He said that thousands of tribals are peacefully staging a sit-in at this post for the last 370 days and demanding implementation of the constitution and laws of this country, but those in power have been firing bullets at them to fulfill their lust for profit, registering false cases, and putting them in jails. He said that the struggle of Silger is a struggle to protect the future of our children and the existence of Chhattisgarh and our generations will proudly remember us how their mothers and fathers sacrificed their lives to protect the water, forest and land and their lives and Democracy has been saved.

Kisan Sabha leader Rishi Gupta said that the governments which are not ready to follow the constitution and laws of their own country, they do not have the right to remain in power even for a minute and the citizens of this country have the right to reject such governments. In reality these governments are anti-citizen, anti-national governments. He said that due to their corporatism, the tribals of Hasdeo, Korba and Bastar are being displaced from their land. This is a process of massacre of the entire tribal population, which will be strongly opposed and all sections of humanity loving people will be mobilized. The Kisan Sabha leader demanded the implementation of PESA law in the state, so that the concept of tribal self-government was implemented. He also demanded that the officials responsible for all incidents of tribal genocide be punished and compensation of Rs 50 lakh each to the victims’ families

The Kisan Sabha leaders also announced to launch a campaign in support of the movement of Silger and Hasdeo in the state.


By Sanjay Parate

*(The writer is the President of Chhattisgarh Kisan Sabha. Contact : 094242-31650)*